Bedding plants

Cutting vines - this is how it's done

Cutting vines - this is how it's done

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If you want to plant grapevines in the garden, you have to be aware that they also need a lot of care. This includes e.g. also the pruning.

Pruning a grapevine

Regular pruning is necessary not only in the vineyard, but also in the home garden to raise the vines. This not only affects the shape, it also promotes growth and crop yield. However, you must also cut the fruit-bearing wood in the correct place. Many hobby gardeners are unsure about this point. They don't know how much and when to cut.

Basically, you can harvest delicious grapes without cutting. However, by cutting, you also protect the plants from fungal diseases (reading tip: Diseases of grapevines - 3 diseases). You should therefore be familiar with all the pruning options for grapevines.

This is how grapevines are cut correctly

»The main cut:

It is best to do the main cut in March. However, you should only cut when the vine has been built and raised properly. Then cut the fruit wood as close as possible to the old wood. You should leave about two centimeters of the branch behind the last bud.


The tool must always be sharp and absolutely clean when cutting. This will prevent the shoots from being crushed. Furthermore, you always start at an angle so that any blood that escapes cannot reach the buds below.

»The winter cut:

The winter cut should be done at the beginning of March at the latest, but better in February. If you take care of the cut later, the plant sap has already risen in the shoots, which could lead to “bleeding”. And this in turn weakens the plants enormously.

During the winter pruning, the thin, long shoots from the previous year are cut off. These are usually reddish brown or slightly yellow in color. Cut these shoots back down to four buds. Five to seven pieces of the thick shoots from the previous year must always be left to form a scaffold. These are marked, the others are cut off on the next thick shoot. There should be no cones left. If you have pruned the vine in this way, only about a tenth of the original vine remains.

For the fine cut, you should shorten all other shoots in the lower area to two to three buds. Simply leave the top shoots unchanged. If there are wild shoots on the old wood, remove them as well.

»The spring breakout:

By spring the new shoots have grown up to 30 cm long. Then it's time for the so-called breakout. At this time laypeople can still see exactly what needs to be removed. Grasp the relevant shoots at the base and simply tear them out very carefully. It may be necessary to break out a few more shoots in the coming months.

In any case, you have to break out the water shoots and those shoots that do not show any flowers. A new shoot near the trunk must be preserved. If several shoots come from one bud, you should only leave the one with the most fruit.

»The summer average:

A cut in summer is only required if you value very well-kept trellises or if you grow particularly high-quality table grapes in the garden.

There are very vigorous grape varieties in which a large amount of long shoots is trained, especially in the first years of standing. At first that's okay, but at some point the vine simply has too many leaves. By shortening the grapevine, however, it will form more avarice shoots, which can then become very long. If the vines are still young, you should leave them there. You should only remove them from older plants.

If you do without the summer cut, the vines will become bushier. So if you want a beautiful trellis, you should cut in summer. In addition, you have much less work with the pruning in winter.

So that the sun can get to the grapes better, you should also use this opportunity to remove leaves that cover the grapes. It is important, however, that you do not remove too many leaves, otherwise sunburn could result. By defoliation of the grape zone, you can also prevent mold growth, as the fruit can dry faster in damp weather.

»The taper cut:

A vine can get very old. But if you do not make a taper cut, the yield will eventually fail to materialize. Every few years, it is therefore rejuvenated to an upstream water basin close to the trunk. If you shorten this shoot, new fruit shoots will grow from the remaining buds.

»The clearing cut:

If a vine has sick leaves or a lot of weak or even dead shoots, a clearing cut is necessary. However, this is usually only the case with vines that you have not previously maintained regularly.

It is best to cut in early March when the plant has no leaves. First, shorten the thick trunk arms. If their number is very high, you should completely remove a few of them. Then you have to remove a large part of the thin side shoots, so that only a few woody shoots from the previous year remain on the trunk frame.